Blog Tour: Of Fire and Stars by Audrey Coulthurst | Guest Post & Giveaway

Good news, everyone! I’m excited to host Audrey Coulthurst, author of OF FIRE AND STARS, today as part of the blog tour! I’ve got a great guest post from Audrey, and if you stick around until the end of the post, you can enter to win one of three copies of the book.


offireandstarsBetrothed since childhood to the prince of Mynaria, Princess Dennaleia has always known what her future holds. Her marriage will seal the alliance between Mynaria and her homeland, protecting her people from other hostile lands. But Denna has a secret. She possesses an Affinity for fire—a dangerous gift for the future queen of a kingdom where magic is forbidden.

Now, Denna must learn the ways of her new home while trying to hide her growing magic. To make matters worse, she must learn to ride Mynaria’s formidable warhorses before her coronation—and her teacher is the person who intimidates her most, the prickly and unconventional Princess Amaranthine (called Mare), sister of her betrothed.

When a shocking assassination leaves the kingdom reeling, Mare and Denna reluctantly join forces to search for the culprit. As the two work together, each discovers there’s more to the other than she thought. Mare is surprised by Denna’s intelligence and bravery, while Denna is drawn to Mare’s independent streak. Soon their friendship is threatening to blossom into something more.

But with dangerous conflict brewing that makes the alliance more important than ever, acting on their feelings could be deadly. Forced to choose between their duty and their hearts, Mare and Denna must find a way to save their kingdoms—and each other

Goodreads | Amazon | B&N


  1. Wake up. This is a bit of a misnomer because it’s unlikely that I was sleeping. The sun comes up early on the west coast and so does whatever my darling Siamese cat ate the night before. Nothing says rise and shine like a fresh mound of cat vomit.
  2. Activate corporate drag sequence. Shower. Don a dress. Iron hair. Apply makeup and mascara. Hey, het, hey! PSYCH!
  3. March to work. My walk, or “dyke stomp” as one of my college friends dubbed it, has all the delicacy and daintiness of a freight train. If people are not scared out of my way by the thunder of my boots over the pavement, a well-timed hiss helps part the crowds (I’m almost always nonverbal before 10am and caffeine).
  4. Initialize robot (day job) mode. Cleverly disguised as a corporate cyborg, I sip tea while performing a variety of useful functions for the company that furnishes my paycheck and health insurance.
  5. It’s food o’clock! My favorite! I sometimes walk home but have a weakness for some of the lunch options available near my office, like spicy pizza, spicy Thai curry, or spicy sushi (you may notice a theme). In times of overwork or desperation I will eat funky licorice out of the secret stash in my desk (thanks to my critique partner Paula Garner). It has the texture of tire rubber, the meatiness of roadkill, and an aroma somewhat reminiscent of cat litter. DELICIOUS!
  6. Complete roboting sequence. During the afternoon I plot (fictional) murder while continuing to earn a living. On the best days I receive hilarious emails from Paula that cause me to cackle so loudly my coworkers scatter like startled pigeons.
  7. Hurry home. There is usually a little more spring in the stomp home. Sometimes I smile as I ponder the magic my evening will hold. In tandem with the speed walking, this tends to confuse and alarm other pedestrians.
  8. Deactivate corporate drag sequence. Discard all accessories and clothing items that suggest I belong to civilized society. My love of pajama pants is boundless. I would wear them 24/7 if I could.
  9. Write. This is usually when the words happen—after cocktail hour, before dog walking and in between other necessary adulting like laundry, dishes, cooking, and the occasional fit of gloom over the need for more hours in the day. Siamese cat snuggles help offset the hard parts!
  1. Read, sleep, repeat! I try to get in a little reading just before bed, then it’s off to dreamland and back up in the morning. Balancing a day job and a writing career can be very challenging, but it’s wonderful to have the financial stability to pursue my dreams. Plus, if anyone at work makes me angry, I can threaten to write them into a book. ☺

Thanks so much for telling us about your day, Audrey! What’s a day in YOUR life look like?


audreycoulthurstAudrey Coulthurst writes YA books that tend to involve magic, horses, and kissing the wrong people. Her debut novel, Of Fire and Stars, will be published on November 22, 2016 by Balzer+Bray/HarperCollins. When she’s not dreaming up new stories, she can usually be found painting, singing, or on the back of a horse.

Audrey has a Master’s in Writing from Portland State University, is a member of SCBWI, and studied with Malinda Lo as a 2013 Lambda Literary Foundation Fellow. She lives in Santa Monica, California.

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram


3 Finished Copies of OF FIRE AND STARS (US Only)


Blog Tour | Down with the Shine: Author Q&A and Giveaway!

DWTS Tour Banner

Hey everyone! Today I am SUPER excited to be sharing a Q&A with Kate Karyus Quinn, author of DOWN WITH THE SHINE and a giveaway as part of the blog tour! Let me tell you a bit about this magical book first and then I’ll share the Q&A and giveaway details!


DownWiththeShine FINAL COVERThere’s a reason they say “be careful what you wish for.” Just ask the girl who wished to be thinner and ended up smaller than Thumbelina, or the boy who asked for “balls of steel” and got them-literally. And never wish for your party to go on forever. Not unless you want your guests to be struck down by debilitating pain if they try to leave.

These are things Lennie only learns when it’s too late-after she brings some of her uncles’ moonshine to a party and toasts to dozens of wishes, including a big wish of her own: to bring back her best friend, Dylan, who was abducted and murdered six months ago.

Lennie didn’t mean to cause so much chaos. She always thought her uncles’ moonshine toast was just a tradition. And when they talked about carrying on their “important family legacy,” she thought they meant good old-fashioned bootlegging.

As it turns out, they meant granting wishes. And Lennie has just granted more in one night than her uncles would grant in a year.

Now she has to find a way to undo the damage. But once granted, a wish can’t be unmade…

Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | Indiebound | iBooks | The Book Depository


Describe yourself in 3 words.

Pisces. Introvert. Thoughtful.

Describe your book in 3 words.

Drunk. Extrovert. Sarcastic.

I saw that you have an MFA in Film and Television Production. If you could choose anyone to direct a film adaptation of DOWN WITH THE SHINE, who would it be?

I would love to have a women director, because we need more women making movies. For someone specific, I love CLUELESS and think Amy Heckerling would be amazing.

Dream cast for your MC?

Janine McCurdy from both iCarly and Sam and Cat would be great as Lennie. She has that edge and attitude.

For Smith and Dylan – I would steal Bob Morley and Marie Avgeropoulos both from The 100.

What would you wish for if you could have anything come true?

I’d probably keep things simple and just ask for a specific dollar amount of money (tax free please) in my checking account. Not so much as to be greedy, but enough that I could pay off my student loans and not have to worry about paying bills anymore.

If you could have any magical ability, what would it be?

I think being able to read minds would be pretty cool. It also would help me know when my kids are lying to me!

What would you say is Lennie’s motto? Yours?

Lennie’s motto at the beginning of DOWN WITH THE SHINE is to keep herself protected. Ironically, she’s very careful what she wishes for, because she’s afraid of being disappointed. By the end of the story that changes quite a bit. For me… I think my motto is more, being willing to take a leap of faith and hoping it all works out in the end.

Other than your own, who is your favorite fictional character?

Argh. This is tough. I’ll go with Anne of Green Gables just because she’s a character I fell in love with when I was young and then through all her books (If I’m remembering correctly I think there’s eight of them – though the last ones are more about her children) I got to watch her grow up.

What was the last book you read and loved?

I read SIX OF CROWS by Leigh Bardugo toward the beginning of this year and have not been able to stop talking about how amazing and wonderful it is. As a writer I am in awe of the storytelling chops on display within those pages. As a reader, I am sobbing nonstop until the second book lands in my hands.


KATE KARYUS QUINNKate Karyus Quinn is an avid reader and menthol chapstick addict. She has lived in California and Tennessee, but recently made the move back to her hometown of Buffalo, New York, with her husband and two children in tow. She promised them wonderful people, amazing food, and weather that would… build character. Another Little Piece is her first novel.

Website | Twitter


3 Finished Copies of DOWN WITH THE SHINE (US Only)


Check out the other tour posts!

Blog Tour | Armada by Ernest Cline – Excerpt

Hey guys! Today I’m excited to be sharing an excerpt from ARMADA by Ernest Cline to celebrate the paperback release. Check it out and then enter to win a signed copy of Ernest Cline’s debut READY PLAYER ONE, a signed ARMADA poster, and a paperback copy of the book.


Armada Paperback CoverBroadway Books // April 12, 2016

In 2011, writer Ernest Cline penned his wildly original, genre-busting debut novel, Ready Player One. Packed with irresistible ’80s nostalgia, this cinematic novel was immediately embraced by readers, bloggers, geeks, gamers, booksellers, and John Hughes fans everywhere. From the New York Times and Entertainment Weekly to Boing Boing and Wired, the novel received rave reviews across the board, sold over a million copies in the U.S., and has been published in 40 countries. The book is now being made into a film by Warner Brothers and legendary director Steven Spielberg, set to debut in theaters in March of 2018.

Since Ready Player One’s publication, Cline’s fans were anxiously awaiting his next endeavor—and he delivered another inventive, heartwarming, and completely nerdtastic adventure with ARMADA (Broadway Books; April 12, 2016), his second New York Times bestseller, which is now in paperback.

ARMADA opens as high-school student Zack Lightman glances out his classroom window and spots a UFO. At first he thinks he’s going crazy. A minute later he’s sure of it, because the ship he’s staring at is straight out of the videogame he plays every night, a hugely popular online flight simulator called Armada—in which gamers just happen to be protecting Earth from alien invaders.

Zack is sure he’s lost his mind. But what he’s seeing is all too real, and his skills—as well as those of millions of gamers across the world—are going to be needed to save Earth from what’s about to befall it. Yet even as he and his new comrades scramble to prepare for the alien onslaught, Zack can’t help thinking of all the science-fiction books, TV shows, and movies he grew up reading and watching, and wonder: Doesn’t something about this scenario seem a little too . . . familiar?

Called a “must-read summer blockbuster novel” by Mashable and a “a thrilling coming-of-agestory” by Entertainment Weekly, ARMADA is at once an adrenaline-fueled, surprising thriller, a classic teenage adventure, and an alien-invasion tale like nothing you’ve ever read before—one whose every page is infused with Cline’s trademark pop-culture savvy. The book is already being adapted into a film by Universal Studios, with the author himself writing the screenplay.


I didn’t remember unzipping my backpack, or taking out the tire iron, but I must have, because now I had the cold steel rod clenched in my hand, and I was raising it to strike.

All three of my opponents stood frozen for a moment, their eyes wide. The Lennys threw up their hands and started backing away. Knotcher’s eyes flicked over to them, and I saw him registering that his simian pals had bowed out of the fight. He started moving backward too.

I looked at the curb a few feet behind him, had a nasty thought, and followed through on it by lunging at Knotcher with the tire iron. He lurched backward and—just as I’d hoped—caught a heel on the concrete rise and landed flat on his back.

And then I was standing over him, looking down at the tire iron clutched in my hands.

Off to my left, someone screamed. My head snapped around and I saw that an audience had gathered— a handful of students on their way in to first period. Among them one girl, too young and deer-in-the-headlights to be anything but a freshman, slapped a hand over her mouth and flinched backward as I looked her way. As if she was terrified that I—Zack the school psycho—would choose her as my next target.

I glanced back at the Lennys, who were now standing among the students who had gathered to watch the fight. All of the onlookers seemed to be wearing the same expression of horrified anticipation, as if they believed they might be seconds away from witnessing their first homicide.

A wave of cold shame washed over me as the intensity of my rage faded away. I looked down at the tire iron clutched in my hands and let it clatter to the pavement. I heard a chorus of nervous laughter behind me, along with more than one relieved sigh.

I stepped away from Knotcher. He slowly got to his feet. We stared at each other for a moment, and he looked as if he was about to say something when his gaze shot upward, focused on something in the sky behind me.

When I turned around, I saw a strange-looking aircraft approaching from the east, moving at an incredible speed. The closer it got, the more familiar it looked. My brain still refused to accept what my eyes were seeing—until a few seconds later, when the craft braked to a dead stop and hovered directly over us, close enough for me to make out the Earth Defense Alliance crest stenciled on the side of its armored hull.

“No way,” I heard someone whisper. A second later, I realized it was me.

It was an ATS-31 Aerospace Troop Shuttle, one of the ships used by the Earth Defense Alliance in both Armada and Terra Firma. And it was about to land in front of my high school.

I definitely wasn’t hallucinating this time: Dozens of other people were staring up at the shuttle in amazement, too. And I could hear the rumble of the shuttle’s fusion engines and feel the heat from their exhaust buffeting my face. It was really up there.

As the shuttle began to descend, everyone in my vicinity scattered like roaches, heading for the safety of the school.

I just stood there like a statue, unable to look away. The ship was identical to the troop shuttles I’d piloted while playing Armada, right down to the EDA crest and identification bar code stamped on the underside of its hull.

The Earth Defense Alliance can’t be real, Zack, I assured myself. And neither can that shuttle you think you’re looking at right now. You are hallucinating again, only it’s much worse this time. This time, you’re having a full-on psychotic break.

Reprinted from Armada Copyright © 2015 by Dark All Day, Inc. Published by Broadway Books, an imprint of the Crown Publishing Group, a division of Random House LLC.


Ernest ClineERNEST CLINE is a novelist, screenwriter, father, and full-time geek. His two novels, Armada and Ready Player One, were both New York Times and USA Today bestsellers, and Ready Player One is currently being adapted into a film by Warner Brothers and director Steven Spielberg. Ernest lives in Austin, Texas, with his family, a time-traveling DeLorean, and a large collection of classic videogames. You can find him online at, on Twitter @erniecline, and on Facebook at Ernest Cline.



Blog Tour | Scarlett Epstein Hates It Here


Hey guys! Today I’m really excited to be part of the blog tour for Anna Breslaw’s hilarious, nerdy, and super fun debut SCARLETT EPSTEIN HATES IT HERE. I’m going to be sharing Anna’s dream cast for the book, but first, let me tell you a little bit about this debut.

Scarlett Epstein Hates It HereScarlett Epstein Hates It Here by Anna Breslaw

Razorbill // April 19, 2016

Meet Scarlett Epstein, BNF (Big Name Fan) in her online community of fanfiction writers, world-class nobody at Melville High. Her best (read: only) IRL friends are Avery, a painfully shy and annoyingly attractive bookworm, and Ruth, her weed-smoking, possibly insane seventy-three-year-old neighbor.

When Scarlett’s beloved TV show is canceled and her longtime crush, Gideon, is sucked out of her orbit and into the dark and distant world of Populars, Scarlett turns to the fanfic message boards for comfort. This time, though, her subjects aren’t the swoon-worthy stars of her fave series—they’re the real-life kids from her high school. And if they ever find out what Scarlett truly thinks about them, she’ll be thrust into a situation far more dramatic than anything she’s ever seen on TV…

Anna’s Dream Cast

Scarlett: Maude Apatow

Maude Apatow

Gideon: Tye Sheridan

Tye Sheridan

Avery: Bella Thorne

Bella Thorne

Ashley: Bella Thorne with a blowout and more makeup

Bella Thorne 2

Dawn: Natasha Lyonne

Natasha Lyonne

Ruth: Lily Tomlin

Lily Tomlin

Lily Tomlin is totally who I pictured as Ruth when reading, so I LOVE that’s who Anna chose! You guys should definitely check out SCARLETT EPSTEIN HATES IT HERE! 


Anna BreslawI’m a New York-based freelance writer and author who mostly writes funny things, or things about women, or both at once.

Previously, I was a staff writer at Cosmo and a sex & relationships editor at I’ve also been a contributing writer for Jezebel and My writing’s appeared in print outlets like The New York Times, New York Magazine, Paper, and Glamour; and web outlets like The Cut,,, The New Inquiry and elsewhere. Scarlett Epstein Hates It Here is my first book but I hope to write more.

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Blog Tour | Interview with Mia Siegert, author of JERKBAIT + My Review

Jerkbait-blog-tour-banner (1)

Hi, lovelies! I’m super excited to be hosting Mia Siegert, author of JERKBAIT, for an interview as part of the blog tour. I’ll be sharing my short review of the book and then the interview. Enjoy!


JerkbaitJerkbait by Mia Siegert
Jolly Fish Press | May 3, 2016

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Book Depository

Even though they’re identical, Tristan isn’t close to his twin Robbie at all—until Robbie tries to kill himself.

Forced to share a room to prevent Robbie from hurting himself, the brothers begin to feel the weight of each other’s lives on the ice, and off. Tristan starts seeing his twin not as a hockey star whose shadow Tristan can’t escape, but a struggling gay teen terrified about coming out in the professional sports world. Robbie’s future in the NHL is plagued by anxiety and the mounting pressure from their dad, coach, and scouts, while Tristan desperately fights to create his own future, not as a hockey player but a musical theatre performer.

As their season progresses and friends turn out to be enemies, Robbie finds solace in an online stranger known only as “Jimmy2416.” Between keeping Robbie’s secret and saving him from taking his life, Tristan is given the final call: sacrifice his dream for a brother he barely knows, or pursue his own path. How far is Robbie willing to go—and more importantly, how far is Tristan willing to go to help him?


I read this book in one day. It is compulsively readable, exciting, horrific, emotional, not at all an easy book, but easy to read.

I really love books that have flawed characters because they are real, and everyone in Jerkbait is flawed, multi-dimensional, and I really appreciated that. My favorite character is probably Tristan, the narrator, because he’s never really had a chance – following in his twin brother’s shadow. But Tristan’s growth throughout the novel is gradual but powerful. But then you have Robbie, his twin brother, who is such a sad character. He’s tormented by who is he is and he feels he must decide between that and his hockey career. I just wanted to reach in and hug him.

I think my only complaint is that the novel felt rather predictable at times and I figured out the overall story pretty easily, but in the end, I still really liked the book and I think it handles its many serious topics well and with sensitivity. I think the fact that the book not only deals with sexuality but also the struggles that teen athletes and teens in general face is what makes this book important.


Describe yourself in 6 words.

Ambitious, workaholic, competitive, intense, loyal, literal.

Describe your book in 6 words.

Intense, relentless, far-reaching, scary, mixed resolution

What is the best memory from your journey to becoming an author?

Oh jeez, pick a hard one, why don’t you? J Honestly, it’s hard to say the absolute best, but definitely getting the email from Travis Pennington (my agent). I had 208 rejections over three years on three manuscripts, so that just… meant everything.

Tell us something interesting that we won’t find out in the book about each of your MCs, Tristan and Robbie.

Before getting into musicals, Tristan listened to a lot of old school rap and R&B because of the storytelling.

Robbie actually really enjoys reading but, because of hockey, he doesn’t really know what’s out there. A few of Tristan’s books might have ended up in Robbie’s room.

I ask this of everyone – what’s your favorite book? 

ONCE YOU GO BACK by Douglas A. Martin and LORD OF MISRULE by Jaimy Gordon.

Other than your own, who is your favorite fictional character?

It’s hard to say because fictional characters run across so many medians and there are so many great ones. From a book, probably Clarice Starling from THE SILENCE OF THE LAMBS by Thomas Harris. For anime, General Cloud Nine from D.Gray-man and Amano Ginji from Getbackers.

Favorite hockey team?

Number one favorite hockey team: New Jersey Devils (as if that wasn’t obvious!!!)

For western conference, I’m a fan of the Anaheim Ducks.

I also like any team who beats the Rangers. [/Obligatory Trash Talk]

Anything else you’d like to tell us about you or your book?

JERKBAIT was my first attempt at writing first person or YA. I wrote the story because I needed to, but I knew very little about the genre as I concentrated on literary fiction. It’s been a steep learning curve, but really enjoyable, and I’m thrilled to find a place where I can somewhat belong since I got a lot of crap from folks for my decision to do something more mainstream and accessible.


Mia Siegert.jpgMia Siegert received her MFA from Goddard College and her BA from Montclair State University where she won Honorable Mention in the 2009 English Department Awards for fiction. Her debut JERKBAIT will be released May 2016 by Jolly Fish Press. Siegert has been published in Clapboard House, Word Riot, The Limn Literary & Arts Journal, as well as a few other small presses.

Siegert currently works as an adjunct professor and a costume designer. She enjoys training horses and watching hockey.

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Tumblr

Harper Summer 2016 Blog Tour: True Letters from a Fictional Life by Kenneth Logan


I am SO excited to be participating in the Harper Summer Tour! True Letters from a Fictional Life is actually the book that I requested when signing up for the tour, and I’m so glad I’m hosting that book and Kenneth on the blog today. I’ve got a really fun guest post from Kenny – a playlist that complements his book – coming up, but first let me tell you a bit about True Letters from a Fictional Life. And make sure you stick around for the end of the post because there are not 1, not 2, but THREE amazing giveaways for you to enter!


True Letters from a Fictional LifeTRUE LETTERS FROM A FICTIONAL LIFE
by Kenneth Logan
June 7, 2016 // HarperTeen

If you asked anyone in his small Vermont town, they’d tell you the facts: James Liddell, star athlete, decent student and sort-of boyfriend to cute, peppy Theresa, is a happy, funny, carefree guy.

But whenever James sits down at his desk to write, he tells a different story. As he fills his drawers with letters to the people in his world–letters he never intends to send–he spills the truth: he’s trying hard, but he just isn’t into Theresa. It’s a boy who lingers in his thoughts.

He feels trapped by his parents, his teammates, and the lies they’ve helped him tell, and he has no idea how to escape. Is he destined to live a life of fiction?

Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | IndieBound | The Book Depository


First, thanks Stefani, for inviting me to guest post on Caught Read Handed. I’m thrilled to do it. I decided to put together a list of songs that somehow complement True Letters from a Fictional Life. A couple of them remind me of places in the story, others recall particular characters and their relationships, and a few just conjure moods like the ones I tried to establish in the book. I steer clear of talking about the  story’s plot, so there are no spoilers. Enjoy.

  1. Nana Grizol, Ruth (2009), the entire album

This band’s from Athens, Georgia, and their frontman, Theo Hilton, sings unapologetically sentimental lyrics about his friendships and crushes. A couple of the band’s fantastic horn players also played with Neutral Milk Hotel. When I was living in San Francisco and writing the first draft of True Letters, I listened to Ruth on repeat. Some of the songs remind me of Neil Young’s quieter, off-key, introspective tunes, and others recall early singles from The Who, recorded when Keith Moon was still brutalizing drum sets. I don’t know whether Nana Grizol has a big following anywhere, but this album’s one of my favorites for sure. Inspiring stuff, especially the tracks “Cynicism,” “Galaxies,” and “Sands.”

  1. David Bowie, “Starman,” The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust (1972)

In a 1973 Rolling Stone interview, Bowie explained to William S. Burroughs that the starman in this song is not actually Ziggy Stardust himself, but Ziggy’s emissary to planet Earth. I don’t think anyone really knows what the hell Bowie was talking about, but I like this tune a ton, so it makes this list for that reason alone. And a couple of others: (1) Bowie spent his career jolting us out of complacency and compelling us to imagine worlds different from the one we inhabit, maybe better ones, and (2) the kids in True Letters stare up at the night sky a lot, as I did when I lived in Vermont. Stargazing never feels like wasted time.

  1. Radiohead, “Black Star,” The Bends (1994)

I can’t think of another song that captures the pain and helplessness and sadness of heartbreak better than this one does. Evidently, Thom Yorke has claimed the song is “about sex in the morning.” That’s not what comes to mind for me, but I guess his explanation’s not incompatible with my own reading. I’m not sure which version of this tune I like better: the original or Gillian Welch and David Rawlings’s stunning acoustic cover.

  1. The Rolling Stones, “Winter,” Goats Head Soup (1973)

True Letters begins just before mud season, those indecisive weeks between winter and spring in northern New England. Even though the top inches of earth melt as the days warm up, the ground deep down stays frozen. When the snow changes to sleet and rain, thousands of miles of unpaved road turn to mud. It’s a thrilling time—spring’s almost arrived—but it can be frustrating and exhausting. Even little kids scowl when it snows in late April.

Mick Jagger and Mick Taylor wrote this tune while the band was recording Goats Head Soup in Jamaica. As the music reviewer Bill Janovitz comments, despite the tropical heat, they managed to capture the feeling of winter way up north pretty brilliantly.

  1. The Flaming Lips, “What is the Light?” The Soft Bulletin (1999)

I remember precisely where I was when I first heard “What is the Light.” I’d recently moved to San Francisco, and I was trying to make an illegal left turn onto 30th Street. When the drums kicked in, I nearly pulled the car over. I’m not going to pretend I understand any of Wayne Coyne’s lyrics, but for me they raise questions about why we think and feel the way we do, questions that James, the protagonist of True Letters, kicks around, too. Sometimes it feels like scientific explanations of human emotions and behavior fall far short of making sense of our experiences. We might never be satisfied with answers to Big Questions, but at least we have songs like this one as the soundtrack to our confusion.

  1. Thao and The Get Down Stay Down, “Bag of Hammers,” We Brave Bee Stings and All (2008)

James’s ten-year-old brother Rex pops in and out of the story. I think he ended up in the book because I really enjoyed being his age. I’m not sure what “Bag of Hammers” is actually about—maybe it’s about trying to hold a relationship together, the opposite of being a carefree kid—but there’s a cheerful bounce to it that I’ve always loved. The music reminds me of Rex, even if the lyrics are irrelevant to him. It’s been a while since I listened to this one, and I’m glad I dug it up.

  1. The Foundations, “Build Me Up Buttercup” (1968)

There were some aspects of teaching high school that I really loved, but chaperoning dances was not one of them. I do have one beautiful memory from one of those painful Friday nights, though: Dozens of kids were barely bouncing to deafening hip-hop, when suddenly the DJ put on “Build Me Up Buttercup.” The song was like sunlight pouring through the high windows. For two minutes and fifty-nine seconds, every kid was smiling and dancing without any worry. No one was trying to be cool. Everyone was having fun. Magic. And then the thumping bass returned, and everyone’s feet stopped.

There is a high school dance in the story, incidentally, and some of the kids even know how to dance. Not James.

  1. Eels, “Fresh Feeling,” Souljacker (2001)

Even though he’s a pretty good writer, James isn’t all that articulate when it comes to talking about his emotions. I’ve always imagined that this song’s about a guy rehearsing what he wants to say to the girl or boy he likes, and he just can’t settle on the right combination of words. Somehow he keeps coming back to the phrase “old paint is peeling.” Some people do that to our brains. 

  1. Gregory Alan Isakov, “Big Black Car,” This Empty Northern Hemisphere (2009)

Another one about lovers and heartbreak—hmm—but really I’m including this song because my head drifts back to Vermont and my friends up there every time I listen to Isakov. Even though he’s from Colorado. He and his band played at the Bowery Ballroom in New York last April, and it was the best show I’ve seen in years. Go see him if you get the chance. He doesn’t have any tour dates listed until August and September. (Hey, Delia Kloh. He’s playing at Red Rocks. I’ve never been. Let’s talk, darlin’.) 

  1. San Fermin, “Sonsick,” San Fermin (2013)

I’m thinking hard, but I can’t come up with a good reason to include this song here other than the fact that this band is phenomenal. They’re based in Brooklyn, so maybe we’re neighbors! I’ve never seen them play, but they’re top of my list. I think they’re touring out in the big square states in March and April. Here are the dates.  And holy smokes! I’m glad I checked those dates for you because they happen to be playing just down the street from me next weekend. Walking distance. Tickets purchased. This post ends on an exciting note for at least one of us. Phew.

Thanks for reading.


Kenneth LoganKenneth Logan would prefer to forget his own high school experiences, so it’s anyone’s guess why he chose to (1) teach high school English and (2) write a novel about seventeen-year-olds. He wrote his book at a colleague’s suggestion: “This is the book you should write.” He’s in a doctoral program at New York University, where he studies language and literacy development. He lives in Brooklyn but enjoys escaping on outdoor adventures, especially in Vermont.
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#1 – A Harper Teen Summer 2016 Catalog prizepack of 45 books*

*Titles not included: The Crown by Kiera Cass, Escape from Asylum by Madeline Roux, Sing by Vivi Greene, The Countdown by Kimberly Derting, & United As One by Pittacus Lore

In addition to the one massive prize winner, we will also have 4 winners who will be able to select 3 titles they want from the Summer 2016 Catalog.

US Only


#2 – 5 Finished Copies from the Harper Teen Winter 2016 Catalog

5 books are: Front Lines by Michael Grant, Revenge & the Wild by Michelle Modesto, The Lifeboat Clique by Kathy Parks, Symptoms of Being Human by Jeff Garvin, & The Girl from Everywhere by Heidi Heilig 

US Only 

How to enter:

Collect the daily word from each blog stop during the Harper Summer 2016 Tour (a total of 50). Once you’ve collected them all, email the complete saying to:

Prize Rules:

1.) Winner must have a valid US mailing address to receive the prize
2.) Winner must be over 13
3.) Only one (1) entry per person for Prize #2 – duplicates will be deleted.
4.) Only a completed phrase will be accepted as an entry – do not email each word/phrase daily. Wait until you have the complete saying and then email in.
5.) All email submissions must be received by 11:59 PM EST 3/31/2016.
6.) Winners will be selected 4/1/2016 and will have 48 hours to claim their prize before another is selected.
7.) Participating blogs and bloggers are not responsible for unsent, damaged, and/or stolen prizes offered by the publisher.

My keyword for the giveaway is READS.

#3 – Win a pre-order of True Letters from a Fictional Life!

This giveaway will run until April 11 at midnight CST. US Only. 



Last but not least, there will be a Facebook Chat with some really awesome authors, and you’ll have the chance to win even more books and goodies! The chat is on March 16 @ 8 p.m. EST. The participating authors are Julie Eshbaugh (IVORY & BONE), Lindsey Klingele (THE MARKED GIRL), Paula Stokes (GIRL AGAINST THE UNIVERSE), and Michelle Andreani & Mindi Scott (THE WAY BACK TO YOU). Check out the event on Facebook for more info.


Blog Tour | The Girl Who Fell by Shannon M. Parker | Review, Interview, & Giveaway

Hi, everyone! I am so excited to be part of THE GIRL WHO FELL blog tour! Today I’m going to be sharing my review of TGWF as well as an interview with Shannon M. Parker, who wrote this dark, wonderful story. But first, some information about the book!

The Girl who Fell by Shannon M. ParkerABOUT THE BOOK

The Girl Who Fell by Shannon M. Parker

Simon & Schuster/Simon Pulse | March 1, 2016


His obsession.

Her fall.

High school senior Zephyr Doyle is swept off her feet—and into an intense relationship—by the new boy in school.

Zephyr is focused. Focused on leading her team to the field hockey state championship and leaving her small town for her dream school, Boston College.

But love has a way of changing things.

Enter the new boy in school: the hockey team’s starting goaltender, Alec. He’s cute, charming, and most important, Alec doesn’t judge Zephyr. He understands her fears and insecurities—he even shares them. Soon, their relationship becomes something bigger than Zephyr, something she can’t control, something she doesn’t want to control.

Zephyr swears it must be love. Because love is powerful, and overwhelming, and…terrifying?

But love shouldn’t make you abandon your dreams, or push your friends away. And love shouldn’t make you feel guilty—or worse, ashamed.

So when Zephyr finally begins to see Alec for who he really is, she knows it’s time to take back control of her life.

If she waits any longer, it may be too late.

Amazon | Barnes and Noble Book Depository | Kobo


NOTE: I was provided with an e-ARC of this book via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. Thank you to Simon & Schuster/Simon Pulse (plus the lovely Brittany from Brittany’s Book Rambles for inviting me to participate in the tour) for letting me read this.

Yikes. This book. I felt like I was holding my breath the whole time I read The Girl Who Fell. From the very beginning, it’s like your gut clenched (the beginning is terrifying and mesmerizing in the best/worst way). You know from the beginning that something is wrong, that the person Zephyr is falling for is just wrong, so you’re terrified to find out how Zephyr will get from falling in love to being hurt.

Spongebob anxiety GIF

Alec is bloody terrifying and creepy and it’s so hard to understand him – though I don’t think I really want to. Even though I wanted to reach into the book and just SLAP Zephyr, I could see why she fell and why she let her guard down. And Zephyr is such a great character. She finds herself throughout the story and realizes she’s someone to fight for. I just loved her, especially in the end. I loved how despite everything she’d been through, there was a hope for a better future. It’s never too late to move forward.

Shannon did such a fantastic job with this topic, which is so so important. Physical and emotional abuse is scary, but Shannon handled it so well. Alec is believably manipulative and I liked seeing how this relationship affected Zephyr but also how it affected her friends and family.

My one complaint is that it’s a bit insta-lovey and they just move so fast, but that’s really part of the point of the book, so even though you guys know I am NOT an insta-love fan, it didn’t really hinder my experience.

The bottom line: The Girl Who Fell is a well-written, fast-paced novel about an important topic. Zephyr (and all of the characters, really) are well developed and distinctive. It’s easy to understand what happens to Zephyr even as you are wishing she’d realize what’s happening to her and put a stop to it. You’ll feel like you’re breathing for the first time in hours when you turn the last page.


Hi Stefani! It’s so nice to be here!! Thank you for inviting me today and thank you for your incredible blog! *fangirls a bit* Okay, a lot.

Describe yourself in three words: Lover of love.

Describe your book in three words: Dark kissing book.

I saw on your website that you’ve been to a TON of places around the world. If you had to choose, what is your favorite place in the world?
My favorite place in the world is standing next to my husband. Especially when he’s in Queensland, Australia.

What would you say is Zephyr’s motto?
“The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.” (Eleanor Roosevelt)

What is the best memory from your journey to becoming an author?
When my teen son said, “Mom, I’m so proud of you. You worked really hard for this.” That made me cry. A. Lot.

Other than your own, who is your favorite fictional character?
There are so many, this is impossible to answer! But I will say that one of my all-time favorite books is The Secret Life of Bees. So, Lily Owens. She’s spunky, clever and filled with pure love (and loss).

I also made several graphics with quotes from the books for the tour, and I’m really excited to share two of them here (the second of which is my favorite quote from the book). Make sure you check out the rest of the tour to see the others!

The Girl Who Fell Quote     The Girl Who Fell Quote


Shannon M. ParkerShannon Parker lives on the Atlantic coast with a house full of boys. She’s traveled to over three dozen countries and has a few dozen more to go. She works in education and can usually be found rescuing dogs, chickens, old houses and wooden boats. Shannon has a weakness for chocolate chip cookies and ridiculous laughter—ideally, at the same time. The Girl Who Fell is her first novel. Find her at

Author Links: Website | Goodreads | Twitter | Instagram

One signed hardcover of THE GIRL WHO FELL and swag


blog tour banner - the girl who fell


Tuesday, Jan 12: Blessie @ Mischievous Reads Dreamcast
Wednesday, Jan 13: Emily @  Emily Reads Everything Review
Thursday, Jan 14: Brittany @ Brittany’s Book Rambles Tour Group’s Favorite Quotes
Friday, Jan 15: Tika @ Fangirl Confessions Movie Playlist
Saturday, Jan 16: Kristen @ My Friends Are Fiction Review
Sunday, Jan 17: Melanie @ One Less Lonely Blog Review + Interview
Monday, Jan 18: Cyra @ Rattle The Pages Review + 5 Reasons You Need to Read TGWF
Tuesday, Jan 19: Jocelyn @ Novels and Necklaces Interview
Wednesday, Jan 20: Cat @ Let the Pages Reign Review
Thursday, Jan 21: Aentee @ Read at Midnight 5 Ways TGWF Destroyed YA Tropes + iPhone wallpapers
Friday, Jan 22: Brittany @ Brittany’s Book Rambles Review + Interview
Saturday, Jan 23: Joey @ Another After Thought Review
Sunday, Jan 24Stefani @ Caught Read Handed Review + Interview
Monday, Jan 25Hanna @ Two Sister’s Blogging Review
Tuesday, Jan 26Michella @ YA Books Girl Review + Playlist
Wednesday, Jan 27Michelle @ Dreaming of Alba Review
Thursday, Jan 28Jamie @ Books and Ladders Review + Interview
Friday, Jan 29Eileen @ BookCatPin Review
Saturday, Jan 30Brian @ Brian’s Book Thoughts Review
Sunday, Jan 31Sarah @ The YA Book Traveler Review + Interview

Blog Tour | We Are the Ants by Shaun David Hutchinson & Giveaway

We Are the Ants Tour Banner

Today I am really excited to be a part of the blog tour for Shaun David Hutchinson’s WE ARE THE ANTS, which is one of my most anticipated books for 2016! Before we get to Shaun’s guest post (and the GIVEAWAY!), let me tell you about the book.


We Are the Ants by Shaun David Hutchinson

PUBLISHER: Simon Pulse // January 19, 2016

Henry Denton doesn’t know why the aliens chose to abduct him when he was thirteen, and he doesn’t know why they continue to steal him from his bed and take him aboard their ship. He doesn’t know why the world is going to end or why the aliens have offered him the opportunity to avert the impending disaster by pressing a big red button.

But they have. And they’ve only given him 144 days to make up his mind.

Since the suicide of his boyfriend, Jesse, Henry has been adrift. He’s become estranged from his best friend, started hooking up with his sworn enemy, and his family is oblivious to everything that’s going on around them. As far as Henry is concerned, a world without Jesse is a world he isn’t sure is worth saving. Until he meets Diego Vega, an artist with a secret past who forces Henry to question his beliefs, his place in the universe, and whether any of it really matters. But before Henry can save the world, he’s got to figure out how to save himself, and the aliens haven’t given him a button for that.

Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | Indiebound | iBooks | The Book Depository

 So as Henry only has 144 days to decide the fate of the world, I asked Shaun what he would do if the world was ending in 144 days.

Top ten things I would do if the world was ending in 144 days

  1. Track down my 11th grade English teacher, Mrs. Everard, and tell her I’m sorry for being such a pain in her butt.
  2. Spend a week living in the Louvre.
  3. Sample every kind of weird food I could get my hands on.
  4. Travel to the highest point on Earth I could realistically reach and stare at the stars.
  5. Fly a plane.
  6. See Hamilton…even if I had to sell a kidney for a ticket.
  7. Smile more.
  8. Spend time with strangers, listening to their stories.
  9. Swim in a giant pool of Jell-O.
  10. Spend as much time with my loved ones as possible.


Shaun David Hutchinson author photoShaun is a major geek and all about nerdy shenanigans. He is the author of The Deathday Letter, fml, and the forthcoming The Five Stages of Andrew Brawley. He can be reached at He currently lives in South Florida with his partner and dog and watches way too much Doctor Who.

LINKS: Website | Twitter | Facebook

3 Finished Copies of WE ARE THE ANTS



1/19: Bookish Antics – Review
1/20: Reading Is Better With Cupcakes – Pocket Note
1/21: Reads All the Books – Review
1/22: Read Write Love – Q&A
1/25: Tina the Bookworm – Review
1/26: The Hardcover Lover – Guest Post
1/27: The Innocent Smiley – Review
1/28: No BS Book Reviews – Q&A
1/29: Don’t Fold the Page – Review

Blog Tour | Evie Brooks is Marooned in Manhattan by Sheila Agnew & Giveaway

Hi, guys! Today I’m super excited to be hosting Sheila Agnew, author of Evie Brooks is Marooned in Manhattan for an interview and guest post as part of the Evie Brooks Blog Tour. Check out my interview with Sheila and her guest post about her love of travel and then enter to win a hardback copy of the book (US only – sorry!!). But first:


Pajama Press / March 3, 2014 / 219 pages

Evie Brooks is Marooned in ManhattanAfter Evie Brooks’ mother dies, her American uncle Scott, whom Evie barely remembers, arrives in Dublin. Much to Evie’s dismay, she’ll have to go and live with Scott in New York City.

Having never owned a pet more substantial than a goldfish, Evie is intrigued by her uncle’s NYC veterinary practice. Scott engages Evie as an assistant in the clinic. Thus begins a series of light-hearted adventures with lovable animals and their sometimes lovable owners.

At the end of the summer, Evie has to make the choice of whether or not to return to live in Ireland with her godmother, Janet…


Describe yourself in 3 words.
Funny. Serious. Compassionate.

Describe your book (or the series) in 3 words.
Funny. Serious. Compassionate.

What is the best memory from your journey to becoming an author?During a school visit a boy told me that he wanted to be a writer but that his teacher said that he wasn’t good at English. I told him how Roald Dahl’s teacher said that his writing efforts reminded him of “a camel.” The boy asked, “Did the camel have one hump or two?” I thought that was hilarious and I think that he definitely has the imagination to be a writer!

Can you tell us a bit about your writing process?
I get an idea for one scene and I just run with it. I don’t normally outline except I had to do an outline for the second Evie book under my contract. So I sat down one Sunday and wrote an outline of about twenty pages detailing every chapter. The publishers were basically like, umm, thanks but we didn’t need anything like this much detail. I never looked at the outline again. I should pull it up someday and see if the book as written actually resembled the outline.

As I know you’ve traveled extensively, what’s your favorite place in the world?
Ireland. It took Dorothy a whole book to realize that there’s no place like home.

Have you ever worked in a veterinary clinic? What made you choose that as Uncle Scott’s profession?
No. But I’ve done a lot of volunteer work with animals especially horses. I just love the presence and smell and feel of horses. It gives me that “all’s well with the world” feeling. And I got my dog, Ben, ten years ago. I just threw him straight into the Evie books exactly as he is. He’s the only non-fictional character.  I knew straight away that Scott had to be a vet because I wanted the animals to help Evie deal with the loss of her mother. Animals have so much to teach us. And there’s a lot of scope for humor!

Who’s your favorite fictional character?
That’s a really tough one. When I was a child, I loved the book, “I am David” by Anne Holm. It is about a twelve-year-old boy who escapes from a concentration camp and travels through Europe looking for his mother. I still think that David is one of the most beautiful souls ever written. But I think I’d prefer to have dinner with Oscar Wilde’s characters.


As a seven-year-old, I was already a highly experienced traveller because I’d gone all the way to Narnia and back six times. C.S. Lewis’s chronicles of Narnia will always remain irreplaceable in my affections. One of the great joys of reading is the ability to travel not just everywhere in this world, but to other worlds as well. I think that readers are born travellers (and time travellers too.)

My writing has been greatly influenced by my travel experiences. Sometimes I’ve found a detail or a character for a story, and other times, the story itself. My books were conceived in far-flung lands . . . and much closer to home. About five years ago, I went to live in an isolated cabin in the woods in Connecticut for a couple of months. One afternoon while I was reading out on the deck, my dog, who had been sleeping inside, flung himself through a hole in the mosquito screen, barking so furiously at something behind me that white foam dripped from his mouth. I turned around. A few feet away stood an enormous black bear. I will never forget my prehistoric, cave girl fear in that moment; a deep primal fear of being eaten alive.

I have no idea how long I stood there, staring at the bear staring at me. At some point, I got it together, grabbed my dog, rushed us both inside and locked the door. Then I remembered that the other door to the cabin was open. I ran around like a lunatic and locked that door as well. Through the window, I watched the bear, now on all fours, circling the cabin. I grabbed my iPad, and googled, “Bear outside cabin, what should I do???”

Google told me to call my local police station. I reached a rather apathetic member of the force called Mary.

“There’s nothing we can do,” she said.

“There must be something you can do,” I wailed. “I can’t stay here for the rest of my life waiting for the bear to look elsewhere for a snack.”

“Oh,” she said in an interested tone, “is the bear attacking you right now because if he is, I can send a patrol car.”

Was Mary insane or was she being sarcastic? I wondered. I still don’t know. What I do know is that I made the episode a chapter in the second Evie book, Evie Brooks in Central Park Showdown. I barely had to change a thing.

One of my favorite places in the world is Argentina. From the second I arrived at the airport in Buenos Aries in 2011, I felt a strong sense of being at home. It’s funny how we often travel to try to find a place that feels like home. I spent almost as much time in Chile as I did in Argentina. And yet, while I appreciated Chile and its people very much, it wasn’t the same feeling. Even if I lived in Chile for a thousand years, we would never be in love. Whereas, for me and Buenos Aires, I guess it was love at first landing.

I’m very grateful for my experiences in South and Central America and in The Dominican Republic. Without those, I doubt if I would have had the confidence to write my YA thriller, The Exclusion Wars, which is narrated by Mateo, a fourteen-year-old Latino in hiding in New York in the year 2025.

SheilaHeadshotTravel hasn’t always lived up to my expectations. Between college and law school, I spent a few months working in Grand Cayman. I had responded to an advert for a job in “the British West Indies.” I thought that sounded so exotic and glamorous and mysterious. To my disappointment, Grand Cayman was none of those things. But I did have fun and enjoyed making new friends.

I think that we have to try and take as many travel chances as we can. Sometimes that means reading in a genre outside our comfort zones, a new potential world to explore. Maybe we will fall in love, maybe not. But it’s nearly always very interesting!

Thanks very much for having me on your blog.  Please visit me on the Web any time.


Click on the link below to be taken to Rafflecopter and enter the giveaway. It will run from December 9 – December 22 at midnight. US only. One winner will receive a copy of Evie Brooks is Marooned in Manhattan by Sheila Agnew.


Check out the other stops on the tour:
Review, interview, and giveaway at Geo Librarian
Guest post at The Roarbots

A Bookish Treasure Hunt | The Last Treasure Hunt by Jane Alexander

You guys know how much I love scavenger hunts. I did one back in January for Bout of Books, and we’ve just began the hunt for the #ReadingMyLibrary Challenge. They are a blast, which is why I’m so excited to bring you an online literary treasure hunt as part of the blog tour for The Last Treasure Hunt by Jane Alexander! Before I give you the clue, let me tell you a little bit about the book.

The Last Treasure Hunt by Jane AlexanderThe Last Treasure Hunt by Jane Alexander
Publisher: Saraband / Add it on Goodreads.

SYNOPSIS: At the age of thirty, Campbell Johnstone is a failure. He’s stuck behind the bar of a shabby pub, watching from the sidelines while everyone else makes a success of their lives. The most visible is Eve Sadler, a childhood friend and rising Hollywood star.

When Campbell tries to rekindle their relationship, he longs for the glitter of her success to run off on him, but a single shocking night – the novel’s shattering twist delivered with a knockout punch – changes everything. Campbell is about to discover the bittersweet taste of fame, and in the process, struggle to save his soul and overcome his own self-delusion.

The Last Treasure Hunt explores our obsession with fame and celebrity with great intelligence and sly wit – it’s a modern media morality tale with bite.

And now, here’s clue number 17!

If diamonds and gold are just your thing

You’re someone who likes a bit of bling

Then perhaps you’re after the same rainbow’s end

Go there lightly with your huckleberry friend.


How the hunt works:

  • Each clue refers to a landmark or iconic location in a film. The landmark/location is the answer – when you figure it out, make a note of it!
  • (If you need a hand, check out the #treasurehunt hashtag on Twitter or Instagram for a hint to the landmark’s location…)
  • Clues will be revealed by some fantastic book bloggers from March 26th until April 21st. Keep checking back on Jane Alexander’s dedicated treasure hunt page ( or on the #treasurehunt hashtag for links and new clues.
  • When all the clues are revealed, the first letter of every answer will make an anagram. Solve the anagram and you have your final answer!
  • Email this answer and all the landmarks you figured out to by April 30th to be entered into the prize draw. Two entrants will win a signed copy of The Last Treasure Hunt – and if you’ve guessed the most landmarks and locations, you’ll win a goodie bag and something special from Jane personally! On top of that you’ll get bragging rights on Twitter and we’ll publicly dub you queen/king sleuth.

Good luck!

Jane Alexander Author PhotoABOUT THE AUTHOR: 

Jane Alexander’s short stories and creative non-fiction has been widely published in a number of anthologies and literary magazines, including Mslexia, Litro and The Orphan Leaf Review. A winner of a major national story competition, and the recipient of a Scottish Arts Council New Writers bursary, Jane is also a lecturer in creative writing at the Open University.